Damn, I want that living-room!!
“Mid-century mod” is hotter now than it was 50 and 60 years ago. It has been for a decade or more. Maybe it has cooled a bit, but just a bit. And maybe it hasn’t. The major overseas manufacturers and stateside retailers are still moving mid-century “inspired” stuff by the mega-freighterful, to coin a term.
We’ve discussed this matter at some length already. “Real” antiques, the centuries-old stuff, what these days is called “brown furniture” in the trade, has been in the doldrums for at least 10 years. But “vintage” items — furniture, dinnerware, etc. — dating from the 1950s through the mid-70s or so, is fetching prices that would have my grandfather shaking his head.
We have also thoroughly chewed over the reasons for this phenomenon. But it remains an interesting one, and always worth another look.
A few years back at a vintage car show I chatted with a fellow 20 years my senior, more or less. The oldtimer was displaying his Ford Model A convertible, which he had built to resemble the type of hotrod seen in the early 1950s, when Model A Fords were themselves only 20-some years old. Had he not told me, I wouldn’t have known that all the body sheet metal was of recent manufacture. The FoMoCo flathead V8 was out of an early ‘50s Mercury, he told me. Stamped steel wheels were painted red and had true hubcaps (as contrasted with wheel covers), as was the fashion back when he was a young man.
I mention that man and his car to illustrate what typically motivates the acquisition of retro and vintage stuff of most all description. We fetishize stuff, we imbue it with meanings entirely in our own heads. In the case of the fellow with the Model A hotrod, it’s to hold onto a piece of the world he knew when that world was still new. And that’s fine by me. There is magic in the stuff I surround myself with. And yes, I know the thinking itself is magical. But I can’t imagine life without such magic.